CHELSEA ART DISTRICT

 

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Chelsea began quietly, over six years ago or more, not much press, with small galleries beginning on Twenty-Second Street off Tenth Avenue. Other galleries followed, galleries with more money, which found larger spaces on Twenty-Fourth Street. It took a few years to develop, but when the building at 529 West 20th Street opened with every floor in the place filled with galleries, usually four on a floor, then the neighborhood really took off.

The buildings in Chelsea were waiting for something to happen anyway, like a lost, abandoned soul waiting or a lover. Previously, printing companies, bookbinding companies and storage lofts filled their spaces, but as time went on, the buildings lost their value, prices were low, ceilings were high, spaces big – just ripe for an art scene to take hold.

An important boost to Chelsea was the recent arrival of Gagosian Gallery on Twenty-fourth Street, near Eleventh Avenue. Next to Gagosian’s mammoth space is the Mary Boone Gallery. Also down the street is Metro Pictures and Barbara Gladstone Gallery. 

Only in the huge space of Gagosian Gallery could Damien Hurst exhibit large vitrines that held gallons of water with live fish, combined with a turn of the century gynecologist’s examining table. Greeting you, in the center of the first gallery, was a gargantuan painted bronze male figure, the outer layer of skin peeled away to reveal the internal organs of the body.

by Hedy O’Beil

Printed in The Artists Proof, N.Y. Artists Equity Association, Fall 2001, Vol. 18.

Hedy O’Beil is an artist, art critic, curator, and art lecturer. Her reviews have appeared in Arts Magazine, the West Side Beat, and Manhattan Arts.

 

DASSAI IS OFFICIAL SAKE SPONSOR FOR FUSION EAST WEST

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Asahi Shuzo is one of the most unique breweries in Japan. They have slowly, gently, and carefully changed much about the way they exist and brew. Change that has been inspired partly by our own crises and difficult times. And Asahi Shuzo has emerged with more focus and resolve to create sake like no other.

Over the past few years we have adapted our methods and our brewery to be able to brew year round, something all but unheard of in the sake industry. This permits us to brew our sake in a steady, even flow and rhythm that minimizes variables, allowing us to focus on the details even more.

Details that include labor-intensive hand crafted methods that have been proven over centuries to yield better sake. Details that include the most modern technology applied in the right measure, in the right places. Details that include using only the finest of materials like rice and ideal yeast.

For more information, visit Asahi Shuzo

IN PURSUIT OF QUALITY

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DASSAI sake is created using a careful combination of tradition and cutting edge technology. Our brewery is a medley of ancient tools and innovative equipment. We have come to use what works, and leave what does not, choosing what our experience dictates is best from both the old world and the new.

In short, DASSAI sake is all about quality, and not quantity, both in how we brew it, as well as in how we hope you enjoy it.

We start with top quality rice, easily the best rice for sake brewing, Yamada Nishiki. We then mill away the outer portion, grinding away the outer half or more of each grain before brewing. Why this extravagance? Because this takes advantage of just what is so special about Yamada Nishiki.

The outer part of proper sake rice is where all the fat and protein resides, with the precious fermentable starches resting safely in the center of the grain. Milling away more and more of the outer part of the grains removes the fat and protein, leaving only the starch behind, leading to the elegant flavor profile that is DASSAI sake. Extravagant? Perhaps. Worth it? In light of our pursuit of the best sake we can brew, absolutely. This specially prepared rice is then brewed by our young, enthusiastic brewers using clear, clean local water in the isolated, pristine environment of the mountains of Yamaguchi Prefecture, on the southern tip of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s four main islands. The result is sake with an identity; delicate, refined and graceful.

At Asahi Shuzo, we brew only premium Junmai Daiginjo sake. There are but a few breweries in all of Japan that focus all effort on making only top grade sake. Our commitment to this defines every aspect of our brewery’s existence.

INFLUENCES ON CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE ART

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The rise of hip-hop culture in the early 1980s, created media sensations. Movies like “Wild Style” and documentaries about hip-hop were becoming popular. When they reached Japan, the people embraced it. They thought it was cool and something new. Hip-hop music and break dancing caught on way before graffiti broke through. 1986, the first all hip-hop club opened up. Soon J-rap came along due to the success of artists in the years 1994 and 1995. Graffiti managed to become popular throughout the years and in 2005 a contemporary museum called X-COLOR opened and it was dedicated to showcasing graffiti artists’ work. The exhibition included photographs and videos depicting the history of this culture. They also showed graffiti in relation to other street cultures.

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“For anyone that has visited Tokyo, it’s no secret that Japanese graffiti artists, while of course influenced by the New York scene, have created a beast all of their own with the popular influences of calligraphy, kanji, and anime and magna characters,” (Anderson). Compared to western graffiti styles, the Japanese graffiti pieces are much more intricate especially in the writing aspect. Anime and manga influences can be found in any piece of work. It is natural for pop-culture to be included in a graffiti piece. There is a mixture of kanji and Japanese alphabets used to create stylized ideograms. Sumo wrestlers, Samurai warriors, and Geisha women become part of the art to represent the influence of their own culture. Paint wars, where crews paint insults back and forth until one quits or gets caught by the police, are common in the culture. The same in many cultures, if the artist is illegally vandalizing an area, they can spend a night to a month in prison. The artists usually aren’t in too much danger as like they would have to deal with in place like New York and L.A.

Source: Outsider Japan

 

TAISAN TANAKA

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Taisan Tanaka is a contemporary Japanese artist. He works in solely black and orange calligraphic ink that often have circular figures that the artist describes as gentle but can strongly effect the viewer’ heart.

Japanese calligraphy (書道 shodō) is a form of calligraphy, or artistic writing, of the Japanese language. For a long time, the most esteemed calligrapher in Japan had been Wang Xizhi, a Chinese calligrapher in the 4th century, but after the invention of Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese unique syllabaries, the distinctive Japanese writing system developed and calligraphers produced styles intrinsic to Japan.

 

 

MARI MIZUNO

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“Paper sculpture” by the artist, Mari Mizuno.

The artist’s recent work is comprised of 5 to 10 pieces of finished prints of the same picture clippings, pasted over a three-dimensional painting.

The world of shadow box from the personal belongings of the print to the classic print typified by artist Anton Peck are endless.

— Mari Mizuno

 

MIHO TAKAI

Miho Takai

I like to have the artwork speak for itself; I don’t like saying more about it than what is there. It’s like looking at an old photograph — it invokes different memories for different people. Each person’s experience from seeing a piece of artwork is unique and should not be clouded by what the artist thinks he or she is conveying. On the other hand, the artist might have a point that no one else shares but is nevertheless a unique expression.

TOUKO OKAMURA

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Touko Okamura was born in Tokyo,1972. Graduated from Nihon University college of art department photography.  In 1997, Launched career as a freelance illustrator. Began to create art works from 2005.

TAMIKO TOMINAGA

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TAMIKO TOMINAGA depicts the instability in human relationships as well as existence in this world. The figures in her paintings are always caught in a passionate moment, but it never seems as though it is truly heated. There is a certain distance between the artist and the subjects she paints, and this distance is what draws viewers to observe the paintings more. If the artist was more drawn into what the figures in the paintings are doing, the painting itself would leave no room for viewers to reflect themselves.

Another strong element of her paintings is the vibrant colors which spread around the bodies of her subjects like a life energy. This can be accredited to Tomiko’s life dedication in practicing yoga. Her observation of the human body while practicing yoga has given her perspective of how vibrating energy fields can be created around a person.

Japanese Translation

男女の姿をモチーフに人間の関係性について描く富永の世界。観賞者はまずその鮮やかな色彩の渦に圧倒される。関係性というものが持つ不安定さ、あるいは人間という存在の不安定さが人体を構成する小さな破片の集まりにみられる。男女の関係性を超えて存在の儚さ・危うさを感じさせるのだがそれと同時にその色彩は生きている人の貪欲なまでのエネルギーがほとばしるようである。ヨガを教える程の腕を持ち人体を探求した富永だからこそ描ける人体に潜むエネルギー粒子というようなものを感じさせるバイブレーションがそこには存在する。

SAI MORIKAWA

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Sai Morikawa studied at The National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts with Henry Finkelstein and also Mary Beth Mackenzie. She earned a certificate for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts at the National Academy.

Her background in anatomical studies and visual perception is complemented by a focus on the importance of individual expression in the making of art. Her dynamic color brush strokes are influenced by the Abstract Expressionists. She paints mostly from direct observation. Morikawa draws first before painting to find a motif or something in particular for rhythm. Then she draws like a children, to retain complete freedom and discover the color, rhythm, space, air, music for into the canvas. Creating relationship between color and shape are very important to her.

While at the Academy, she served as an assistant for young aged students class with Hannah Frassinelli, summer art camp with Martha Bloom. Also receipted anonymous scholarships and awards from the National Academy.

From 2002 to present, Ms. Morikawa has exhibited solo shows at Jain Marunochi Gallery, NY which is her representative gallery in NY. and group shows at Hpgrp gallery, NY in 2007, 2008. She participated and organized the group show “Art for Peace” which was a traveling show from NY based artists in Bato-cho Hiroshige Museum, Nasu-Kogen Museum and Gallery Junho-do in Japan at 2002/03.

Ms. Morikawa also had experienced as a gallery assistant at Celum gallery NY 2002, the Nippon Club gallery, NY 2002-4, “NY Arts” publisher, NY 2001. Since 2007 to present she is writing and editing art article for a bilingual art magazine “COOL” published in NY.  Ms. Morikawa had interviewed with Mr. Cai Guo-Qiang, who is the visual art director of Beijing Olympic game and Ms. Eiko Ishioka, who is the costume designer for the Beijing Olympic game, also world wide famed artist Mr. Tadanori Yokoo or anonymous well-known artists or art directors.

Ms. Morikawa is working with The West Harlem Art Fund as a guest curator. The project approved by the New York City Department of Transportation in February 2010. The art work created by Japanese artist Mr. Kenjiro Kitade showed on the Jackson Heights Queens in the summer June 2010.

MIWAKO KASHIWAGI

A Peaceful Moment“ I left my hat somewhere!” 28.5 x 24

Japanese Translation

柏木美和子の美術の原点は、子供の頃から母に連れられて行った数々の展覧会にある。若い頃日本画を習っていた母に連れられて行かれた展覧会で、いつもその絵のどこが素晴らしいのか解説を受け、様々な知識を得た。その為、自然と絵画の鑑賞が好きになり、いつの間にかアートがなくてはならないものになった。

ルネッサンスから印象派、そして日本画、陶器、写真と鑑賞する範囲は広範囲に及んでいるが、最近はコンテンポラリー・アートが最も関心のある分野だ。また、コンピュータ・グラフィックの仕事をしていた経験もあり、その影響も受けている。

もっとも、自分の絵を描くことを始めるまではかなり時間がかかり、2000年にWashington DC にあるCorcoran College of Artで初めて描くことの勉強を始めた。

その後日本に帰国してから現在に至るまで上野の森アートスクールで学びながら描き続けている。目指しているのは、現代性を含む表現である。

数年前より色々な公募展に応募したり、 ニューヨークでの展示に参加している。

この数年は親子、老人など様々な人々を対象にアートセラピーを提供し、また、若手アーティストの支援としての展覧会の企画、開催も行う、などアート一色の毎日である。

English Translation (partial)

These days, unexpected things could occur following any peaceful moments.

This painting expresses my hope that peaceful moments could last as long as possible. Innocent conversations made on ordinary streets in a daily life represents such a peaceful moments. Although what people have in their minds during such a conversation cannot be actually observed, I tried to express their minds in my painting by using silver lines in a way like balloons are used in cartoons. However, unlike cartoons, the unlimited space expressed by the silver lines creates a surrealistic and 3 mysterious world